MILAN, Italy — In this era of neo-mannerism, it’s increasingly difficult to discuss originality or spot its true source. The Alberta Ferretti show, all sunburnt, ethereal grace and flowing lines, had persistent hints of Valentino. Yet, of course, Ferretti has been exploring the territory of soft but assertive femininity since the first day of her career. Indeed, it was Ferretti who actually invented the formula that many others have appropriated, not the other way round. So it makes perfect sense that over the past few seasons she has been reaffirming her signature — with a stronger force than ever.
Today’s effort was one of her best to date. The collection looked coherent: although made mainly of dresses — a Ferretti specialty — it looked ready to match different occasions. There was a dry prettiness to the proceedings and a kind of elemental opulence given by jewels and decorations scattered on the hair and around the neck. It all exuded the kind of intense craftsmanship for which Italian fashion is known. lace was laid out in geometric intarsia, chiffon got shredded and braided into feather-light dresses and raw hems had a dancing quality. The earthy colour palette toned it all down, further erasing any sugary after taste.
With her stress on the open air, Ferretti joins this season's bandwagon in terms of inspiration: so far, nature in its dry, wild form seems high on the fashion agenda. It's all about the real right now, not the digital.